A successful career transition

"I have an insatiable appetite for learning, one that’s brought me back again and again."

Servane Bonnet

Non Executive Board Member at GQS Capital LTD
Participant on the Finance for Non-Finance Executives Programme

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Challenge your thinking

"I wanted to be financially literate. This programme taught me how to interpret financial statements and ask the right questions."

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Nurturing young entrepreneurs

"I have an insatiable appetite for learning, one that’s brought me back to London Business School again and again. My first foray into the School’s Executive Education portfolio was the Masterclass in Private Equity, closely followed by Accounting and Financial Analysis. I then returned for a third time, to complete Finance for Non-Finance Executives (FNFE)…and I didn’t stop there! I’ve recently completed the Sloan Masters in Leadership and Strategy – a one-year degree programme for senior executives.

At the time I did the FNFE programme I was in the process of transitioning to a business role from a legal background, where I’d been working initially as partner at a NYC based law firm specialising in M&A, and subsequently as General Counsel of a global leader in capital markets software solutions. To become an effective advisor to small businesses, I knew I needed to develop my knowledge of specific finance-related topics. I was also due a refresher course on others.

I wanted to be financially literate and the FNFE programme taught me how to interpret financial statements and ask the right questions. I also explored how to simplify finance frameworks and explain the rationale behind the main principles for the benefit of advising others. It’s easy to get lost in the detail when talking about accounting or performance ratios, but you need to keep focused on the big picture. And LBS faculty are excellent at breaking down very complex concepts - understanding the rationale behind a concept or a rule helped me grasp some very complicated ideas.

You need drive and passion to keep moving your career forward and reach the next level. Fortunately, I was conditioned for it since I’ve had to overcome challenges and adapt to new environments many times – I’ve lived across four continents, worked in very different industries and practised in different areas of law such as M&A, intellectual property and arbitration. Since the programme I’ve taken on a number of non-executive director roles advising start-ups on valuations, identifying and targeting investors, regulation and legal issues. I love sharing my experience and knowledge. Being able to help and nurture young entrepreneurs to develop and implement their ideas is a real privilege.

I also get a lot back from this kind of involvement. Engaging in dynamic and creative environments like these enables me to have a real impact. I began assisting Murex, for example, when it was just a startup, and over the years I’ve contributed to every step of its development. It’s now a world- leading technology innovator in capital markets."

What I learned

"You can’t truly understand a business if you’re not financially literate."

Remember the bigger picture

"It’s easy to get lost in the detail when talking about accounting or performance ratios, but you need to keep focused on the big picture."

Take a new direction

"Opportunities to grow - whether studying or in a new professional role -should never be overlooked."

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Create visible impact

"I began assisting Murex when it was just a startup…It’s now a world-leading technology innovator in capital markets."

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Exploring new challenges with an open mind

"There’s something about London Business School that keeps drawing me back. The programmes I’ve done have enabled me to evolve my career, the topics covered are incredibly useful and can be applied immediately, and the quality of the faculty is exceptional. But I also really enjoy spending time and engaging with the other participants. I’ve learned an incredible amount from my cohorts – highly qualified and smart people from around the world who are willing to share a broad range of personal and professional experiences.

It’s so important to keep an open mind and be willing to take on challenges, because it’s only by training different parts of your brain that you learn new things and develop. Opportunities to grow – whether studying or in a new professional role – should never be overlooked. Sloan, for example, was a longer programme that offered me a unique opportunity to take a step back and review my accomplishments, motivations and drivers. It also helped me reinforce certain skills, at the same time as I developed others and extended my network.

You can’t truly understand a business if you’re not financially literate. I use what I’ve learned at LBS every single day, I’ve enjoyed a really varied career - and I keep changing it up! I recently joined GQS Capital – a new venture founded by some of my Sloan Fellows – and I’m also lecturing, focusing on how to manage legal risks in businesses and corporate governance."

Finance for Non-Finance Executives

Demystify finance. Make sense of financial concepts and apply your new-found knowledge with confidence.